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NAFDAC pumps over N6bn to boost Nigeria pharma export

NAFDAC goes after drug hawkers, others to save lives

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has pumped over N6 billion of internally generated revenue in the last 8 years on developing infrastructure necessary to facilitate global trading of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical products, Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC’s director has said.

The agency in a sweeping restructuring of strategies to discharge its function has utilised this fund on the expansion of its laboratory capacity across the country, setting it on track to achieve the World Health Organisation Maturity Level (ML4) and the World Listed Authority Status by 2025, Adeyeye said at BusinessDay’s policy intervention series centred on NAFDAC as an agency for economic development and transformation.

Achieving higher global ratings for Nigerian medical products is expected to boost their competitiveness in international trade. This, in turn, will attract the trust of global organizations, encouraging them to purchase these products for their interventions.

Citing the procurement trend of UNICEF in Nigeria, Adeyeye said about 600, 000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food manufactured locally and inspected by NAFDAC were utilised by UNICEF in 2023, a significant increase from less than 100, 000 as of 2018.

“Economically speaking, when we have world-based authority, medical products that we approve after that date can be traded globally. That is how important quality is to economic development,” Adeyeye said.

She said over 20 newly registered local drug manufacturers have completed the setup of WHO compliant facilities that produce quality essential medicines for Nigerians, marking 12 percent of increase in the number of active local FPP manufacturers.

Read also: NAFDAC destroys N985m substandard drugs

As of February 2024, 143 applications were received for regulatory review and approval of new pharma layouts intended for local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, the DG said, adding that 73 percent have received regulatory approval to commence construction.

She however noted that the naira devaluation has caused a setback for the majority of the 105 those who got this approval as only 35 percent have completed and are at different stages of registration.

Highlighting further measures being implemented to ease doing business and global benchmark, Adeyeye said the agency has eight new building construction projects ongoing in Oyo, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra and Bauchi states.

The DG said the agency has a total of 26 projects, four commissioned, five completed, and nine ongoing, including the eight new projects.

The commissioned projects are located in Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Lagos (NAHCO) – import and export division; completed projects in Ebonyi, Yobe, Abuja, and Yaba laboratory in Lagos; while projects are ongoing in Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Plateau, Edo, Delta, Enugu states, including vaccine laboratory, NAFDAC office complex renovation in Isolo, Lagos state.

She further stated that ongoing reactivation of the Information Communication technology with hardware and software and digitalisation of regulatory processes led to the inability of the public to access information about the agency.

“Our website was not good, and we started rebuilding it so people could see as much information as they could,” she said.

She further stated that procurement of over 140 vehicles for regulatory inspection is ongoing.

“It (NAFDAC) has started building infrastructure development (state offices and laboratories) – ongoing,” she said.

Adeyeye, speaking about the achievement of the agency since her assumption of office noted that lines of reports had been streamlined through coordinating directorship, adding that when she got to Lagos, food regulation was only in Lagos but now decentralised for ease of doing business.

Leadership of the agency was also restructured as well as “creation of a disciplined and motivated workforce.”

She added that the agency plans on establishing desk offices across the 774 local government areas in the country.

“We have a plan to have NAFDAC desk offices in 774 local governments. What we’ve limited it to is to have at least three NAFDAC desks senatorial districts,” she said.

Speaking on the market control and trade, the DG noted that the agency is responsible for market control of its regulated products with its function mainly covering “prevention and detection of, and response to SFs in the market, control of import and export activities, market surveillance / monitoring quality and safety of regulated products throughout the value chain and trade-related matters.”

Others include ensuring compliance with statutory requirements at the various airports, seaports and land borders, and ensuring effective and efficient control at these channels.

In his welcome address, Frank Aigbogun, Publisher of BusinessDay, while welcoming Adeyeye and other invited guests, described the avenue as a catalyst for the development of the agency